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We are building St. Petersburg. LENSVET

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LenSvet is Russia’s biggest company providing external illumination. There are 240 thousand lights in the city. That includes regular street lights and artistic illumination – lights on bridges, embankments and churches.

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I have been to many cities, but St. Petersburg definitely has the best illumination. I feel proud to have played a part in this. We are giving light to the people. 

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “I always wanted to get on the big screen, so I could say later – look here I am, eighth on the right. And I did – for the “Yolki” film, spent for days at the set in Konstantinovskiy Palace. Now I can say – there’s me in the opening shots of the movie!”

You can see Egor Pashkov in this crowd of dancers. He shone on the big screen once – but every day, thanks to him, entire streets in the city are shining. 

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “Before coming to work at LenSvet, I had no idea about electricity. I got acquainted with it only here. My friend invited me to work as electric fitter – who told me how interesting this profession was. So I have been working in the Yuzhnyi district for nine and a half years

LenSvet is Russia’s biggest company providing external illumination. There are 240 thousand lights in the city. That includes regular street lights and artistic illumination – lights on bridges, embankments and churches. 

Sergey Mitelev, CEO “LenSvet”: “The main achievement is the constant expansion of light spots. This is a clear indication of the work we are doing. Of course, we are not only building, but we also repair and renew the lights, the foundations and cables. Those works ensure proper operations of our networks. 

Egor Pashkov works in the Moskovskiy area. Here, 14 electric fitters are responsible for 1400 street lights each. They work in three shifts – day, evening and night. Brigades are patrolling the entire district  - to make sure all lights glow and shine.

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “Let’s say, if we are lighting up the Moskovskiy prospect, we begin at Ploshad Pobedy, then drive towards Obvodnoy and come back – sometimes not all lights are on. So Moskovskiy prospect can be lit up constantly, in a circle. 

Im going to get my assignment.

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “The task is formulated ahead by technicians. We are building a route, which suits us. Plan all this and get to work

This is how I’m standing by the technician, begging for an assignment

You’re doing the right thing. Here you go!

Moskovskiy Prospekt, replace glass

Sign please

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “If it’s a night shift, you are lighting those up and react to emergency alarms. On an evening shift, you are dealing with lights on the blocks. A day shift often requires brainstorming – if you are working on fixing a short circuit, which you need to find first. So every shift has something good about it, some positive aspects. 

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “Every fitter must be a master of many degrees. He must be able to clear and clean, repair and do paintjob. As well as installing new gear and figuring out whether there’s a short circuit on the line, restoring the network. That’s an extensive range of skills”

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “Checking. Equipment is working. This set was taken down yesterday, since asocket burnt out. Now we have replaced it. The gear must beworking properly, after which we’ll put it back in. Closing the cover. That’s it – ready to be set up”

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “This is a safety belt, the spring hook is attached to the basket. This is the cable, and this is the belt which prevents the fitter from falling out of the basket”

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “Sometimes people see me out of the windows and wave at me. Children often do. It keeps my spirits up and I wave back at them”

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “I was switching between professions before becoming the electric fitter. I worked as a spinner at a factory, as a technician for super-light drones. Flew myself, being involved in aerial irrigation of fields. Even went 2up to the altitude of 2 kilometers. Flying. I have alwaysbeen attracted by height. And now I got a job which involves working up high” 

Pushkin, Gogol and Blok. Classic writers were convinced – street lights are among the most important parts of St. Petersburg’s image. Outside illumination appeared in the 1st half of the 18thcentury. That’s when a new profession – lamplighter – also appeared. At first, these duties were performed by low-levelpolicemen. By the end of the 18th century, a designated lamp lighting team was formed. 

Larisa Zarubina, specialist in art: “Every lamplighter servicing flame lamps had a ladder. He climbed up, opened the door, replaced the lamp, filled it up and put it back. In the evening, he again got on a ladder, lit the lamp and moved on to the next light – igniting a string of lights in the street”

A monument to St. Petersburg’s lamplighter was set up at the quiet Odesskaya Street – to commemorate an event of historic significance for the city’s illumination. It was here in September 1873 than electro technician Alexander Lodygin demonstrated the first electric lights with coal-heated lamps – just outside his workshop.   

Larisa Zarubina, specialist in art: “There is an urban legend in St. Petersburg – that those demonstrations paved way to electric illuminations in the city. But this is not true. Those streetlights were not run on electricity, but on kerosene. Lamps were taken out of them and replaced by the ones designed by Lodygin. Nevertheless, those who came to Odesskaya did see electric lights for the 1st time”

Nowadays, almost the entire illumination of St. Petersburg is managed here – in the control room of “LenSvet”. All the city’s streetlights are displayed on the monitors. Emergency signals and messages from residents are sent here. Electro fitter brigades work is also coordinated here. And most importantly – at this place, a sentence is voiced every evening which turns a dark city into a well-illuminated one.

“Attention on the line! We are switching the city on! Attentionon the line! We are switching the city on!”

Mikhail Zaitsev, dispatcher at technical service of “LenSvet”: “The city’s lights are turned on according to the schedule. Every 5 days it is adjusted. So we’re looking at the day of a month and make a decision. For instance, today, May 5th – and it’s the last day when we are switching the street lights on at 9 pm”

One click on the monitor turns on main power outlets in the city. From those, like in a domino effect, electricity spreads onto auxiliary – or the so-called cascade – power junctions. Every single one of those illuminates several streets. Within just three minutes, the entire city comes alive with thousands of lights! 

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “The buildings of the city look totally different after dark. You look at Dvortsovayaembankment, at Nevskiy. Its magic! Nevskiy is particularly amazing at New Year’s.” 

Electric fitters not only fight to keep the city shining, they are also fighting to keep St. Petersburg clean. They take down ads or, if they manage to get there on time, prevent those from being glued on. 

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “Our assignments are written on these sheets. And those are the ads that we confiscated from those gluing it to the walls. We flip it around and see a sign here. We are cleaning the street lights from those all the time”

Sergey Mitelev, CEO “LenSvet”: “This is an endless work. We are forced to distract our electric fitters to make them clean those street lights. We joined efforts with our colleagues from GorElektroTrans who also suffer from these barbarians. And, in principle, we are not only planning technical activities, but also administrative and involving Legislative Council and the police. Because this problem can’t be solved otherwise. We see what’s written on these ads – its horrible!” 

Lighting the city up is the favorite job. But Egor Pashkov also has a creative hobby. The bubbles show. Partnered by his beloved girlfriend Mariya. 

Mariya: “At first, he even tried himself as a host of children events. But then he tried working with the bubbles, got it right and started liking it”

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “I saw how easy and beautiful it was – making those bubbles. And decided to try. Ittook me some time to master it – about a year”

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “Work certainly helps. You can approach different angles. For instance, people usually make props themselves – and my work lets me do some things with my own hands. To think something over and do it. I would undoubtedly call myself a creative man, because I have a creative hobby, and I also always wanted to entertain people, to be on the stage”

But creativity in Egor’s life does not only live on the stage, but also behind the curtains of LenSvet. The atmosphere within electric fitters’ teams contributes to that

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “Well, our  team has a lot of talented, multi-skilled people. Most can make parodies of one another, some write decent poems, some draw, some write songs about LenSvet”

In June, during the “White Nights” period, St. Petersburg consumes five times less electricity than during the winter. For the most part of the year, damp and cold climate seriously affects the psychological atmosphere. Illumination, for that matter, is one of the solutions from a depression. Three thousand Kelvins – this is the optimal light temperature of St. Petersburg. The higher this number is, the colder the light is. 

Sergey Mitelev, CEO “LenSvet”: “There are warm lights and cold lights. And both affect the mood of residents. We pay a lot of attention to this – we’re trying to stay away from the cold lights and prefer the warm ones. Some might not like it – opting for a whiter light – but the yellow light is warm and statistically more liked”

Thousands of night lights. When the sun goes down, life doesn’t stop – it gets a new look. What will tomorrow look like? Wedecide. We are building our city. Every one of us is building St. Petersburg.

Egor Pashkov, electric fitter at “LenSvet”: “I love my city. In St. Petersburg, I like even walking down the embankments, just looking up and around. We have a very beautiful city. Simply the best city”

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